The Government proposes amendments to the Act on Occupational Safety and Health to improve the enforcement of wage dumping provisions and the monitoring of issues affecting indoor air quality
The Government proposes amendments to the Act on Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement and Cooperation on Occupational Safety and Health at Workplaces (Act on Occupational Safety and Health). The proposal would extend the occupational safety and health (OHS) authorities’ powers concerning the enforcement of provisions on wage dumping. The OSH authorities would also have new duties concerning the notification of other authorities of problems with indoor air quality.
The Government proposes that the powers of OHS authorities to enforce the provisions on wage dumping would be extended to issuing employers with a written improvement notice, a binding administrative decision and a notice of a conditional fine. The authorities could take these measures when the situation concerns the employer’s duty to provide clear grounds for the payment and amount of wages and to pay wages in accordance with the law and a generally binding collective agreement. However, the OSH authorities would not resolve disputes of interpretation arising from the pay of employees.
In addition to extending the improvement notice procedure, the Government proposes that to better combat wage dumping the duty of OHS authorities to notify the police would be extended to cover fraud and extortion offences under the Criminal Code. Extending the duty of notification would help the police to better take into account all constituent elements of a crime that may be applicable to a case under criminal investigation.
By extending the OSH authorities’ enforcement powers, the legislative amendments seek to improve compliance with the provisions on employee pay in the labour market and to safeguard the position of employees. The amendments also aim to prevent the creation of a labour market where compliance with the minimum level of pay is often neglected, and to combat the grey economy more effectively.
“The Government is committed to exploring ways to combat wage dumping. Enhancing the powers of the OSH authorities and putting more effort into considering wage dumping as fraud or extortion under the Criminal Code are important steps in tackling wage dumping and the emergence of a two-tier labour market,” says Minister of Social Affairs and Health Hanna Sarkkinen.
The proposal also includes amendments regarding poor indoor air quality. The Government proposes that the duty of the OSH authorities to notify other authorities would be extended to notifying the municipal health protection and building inspection authorities of problems with indoor air quality and building maintenance. By improving the flow of information between the competent authorities, the legislative amendment aims to combat health harms associated with poor indoor air quality.
The legislative amendments are intended to enter into force on 1 June 2023.
Jarno Virtanen, Ministerial Adviser, [email protected]